SEI Trends

Join us for an education session on student evaluations and how they have
influenced the trends in higher education over the last century.

February 28, 4:00 – 5:30pm (FC)

Hosted by the MRFA’s Faculty Evaluation Committee.

Over the last 50 to 100 years, higher education has seen several marked trends: (1) a larger percentage of the population enroll in universities, (2) students spend less time on their study and homework, (3) SET use in high stakes personnel decisions such as hiring, firing, promotion, tenure, etc. became widespread, and (4) students’ average grades rose from Cs to B+/A-. If grades reflect a degree of learning, the declines in average ability of enrolled students and in the amount of study time ought to have resulted in lower grades. Why did the grades rise instead? The most frequently cited factor for this increase in grades to the ceiling are SETs. University administrations demand high SETs to the point of not hiring, firing, not promoting, etc., professors who do not receive high SETs. In turn, professors have very strong incentives to aim for high SETs. What are some of the things professors do to increase their SETs? They decrease course demands and work loads, they do not pursue academic dishonesty, they increase grade, etc.. Other factors such as demands for high retention, low percentages of DFW grades, etc. are similarly contributing to grade inflation.